Larry Hogan book claims members of Trump cabinet asked him to primary president

Hogan says defunding police ‘worst idea’ ever, addresses tearing down statues, Trump coronavirus response and more

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News ahead of the release of his book next week, said defunding police is ‘one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard.’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in his memoir set to be released next week, says there were members of President Trump's own administration urging him to mount a primary challenge to the president as rumors swirled in 2019 that Hogan might be considering the move.

Fox News obtained a copy of "Still Standing," which comes out on July 28, ahead of its publication.

Hogan, who in his book also recounts his experience dealing with the 2015 Baltimore riots after the death of Freddie Gray as a freshman governor, his battle with cancer and his experience leading a state during the coronavirus pandemic, says in early 2019 he began hearing rumbles that he should pursue the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. The governor eventually declined to run for president, but he is now the subject of speculation that he could be angling for a Whtie House run in 2024.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference at the Maryland State House on Friday, April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

"In the days and weeks that followed, the drumbeat grew louder and more insistent," Hogan writes of the presidential rumors after he gave a speech emphasizing the "character and competence" elected officials should hold and how they should not "intimidate" or "demonize" when they discuss ideas.

"On cable news. In private phone calls. In conversations with fellow Republicans, donors and members of the media. Even with a couple of Trump administration cabinet secretaries," Hogan said.

"The media, I understood. They were itching for a tussle in 2020," Hogan said later. "They were also enamored by the idea of a popular Republican governor, a real Republican, with a proven record of electoral success, going toe to toe with Donald Trump inside the GOP."

He added: "But cabinet secretaries? Encouraging me to consider running against their boss, the president? That one surprised me."

Hogan did not identify the administration members who approached him. He also never took any concrete steps toward a presidential run, like setting up an exploratory committee.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 20, 2020, in Washington. Trump didn’t face a high-profile primary challenger in 2020, after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan quashed rumors he would run in early June 2019. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


Hogan's claim that members of the Trump administration approached him about challenging the president in the Republican primary comes after on-again-off-again speculation about whether members of Trump's administration considered removing the president using the provisions in the 25th Amendment. The amendment provides a way for cabinet secretaries and the vice president to remove a president for being "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

The Trump administration has denied repeatedly during the president's tenure that such discussions have happened. And even if they did, there are legal mechanisms within the 25th Amendment that would allow the president to fight back, eventually possibly leading to a vote by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Those votes would require two-thirds of members to vote to remove the president. Otherwise, he would retake his office.

Hogan, publicly and in his book, has not hesitated to criticize Trump at a time when nearly all Republicans, even those who were harshly critical of him in 2016, have been reluctant to take a stand against the president. The governor has seen his profile rise in recent months as he leads his state and the National Governors Association, which he chairs, through the coronavirus crisis. But Hogan, in an interview with Fox News this week, also said he's "given the president and his team plenty of credit for the good things that they've done and the progress they've made" on the coronavirus.

Hogan, in a handful of chapters that followed, recounted the several months in 2019 during which many believed that he might run for president. This included a "charm offensive" from Vice President Pence, an event for the Society of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick at which he made beer jokes for a bipartisan audience, an effort by Trump ally David Bossie to pressure Maryland Republicans into coming out early for Trump, and a visit to New Hampshire for the famous "Politics & Eggs" breakfast.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a "National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools," event in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in his memoir says Pence engaged in a "charm offensive" as rumors that Hogan might run a primary challenge to President Trump swirled in early 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Hogan recounts the thinking that went into his decision about whether to run or not. He says that while he was intrigued by potentially running to "bring common sense and civility back to Washington," he wanted to ensure that he had at least a chance to win if he ran, and would not be "launching a kamikaze mission."

The governor eventually decided that, considering Trump's vast support among Republican primary voters and his extremely enthusiastic base, he would not run for president. "I just didn't see it," Hogan said.

He eventually announced publicly on June 1, 2019, that he would not become a candidate for president.

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